On 13 January, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced that it had earlier communicated that its branches would re-open on 18 January. However, following the national address by the President regarding the worsening of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, the SARS Management has decided to extend until further notice the suspension of physical visits to SARS branches while continuing with the utilisation of virtual branches to service taxpayers. The facilitation of these visits is mainly through:
- The SARS Contact Centre (Voice)
- Electronic Channels (eFiling, Mobile App, Email)
- Virtual Branch Channel (Video/Teleconference)
All offices will continue to operate and serve the public remotely via digital channels until further notice. Branches will also engage with taxpayers via the use of virtual meetings using Microsoft Teams. SARS urges the public to note:
- Bookings may be made via the SARS website
- All new bookings via the SARS website will be honoured via a virtual engagement (Microsoft Teams or telephonic engagement)
- The SARS Contact Centre will continue to service any queries from members of the public.
- All South African Ports of Entry manned by SARS customs officials will continue to operate during this lockdown period. Please note that strict social distancing measures will apply, and all members of the public are required to properly wear masks at all times when entering any SARS Customs building or engaging with any customs officials. No access will be allowed without the wearing of a mask.
- All provisional taxpayers will be expected to file their returns before the deadline on 29 January 2021 by utilising the above electronic channels or visiting the virtual branch for assistance.
In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic situation, SARS is convinced that transacting through virtual branches will be the only way in which it will continue to deliver its public services to taxpayers for the foreseeable future. SARS will also continue to assist taxpayers through its Contact Centre.
SARS Management believes that the above arrangement will continue to enable taxpayers to transact with SARS without difficulty while ensuring the observance of the COVID-19 protocols, as well as protecting taxpayers and employees.
Bookings may be made via this SARS website:
Story by: Riaan de Lange